TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY makes the cover of TIME magazine this week for a feature piece entitled ‘The Celtic Comeback’.
The green themed frontpage also notes that ‘Prime Minister Enda Kenny is rebuilding his country’s economy. What the rest of Europe can learn from him.’
TIME’s website features an interview with the, er, interviewer Catherine Mayer as well as a video of her interview with the Taoiseach in which he talks about the Irish economy and walking to work.
In the interview he is asked about Ireland’s perception internationally as the model for economic recovery and he says:
While it’s gratifying to hear the comments internationally about how Ireland is a model of how you can do this, where people work with government, we want to go beyond that – to retrieve our economic independence, in the mean time, to have made the changes to the structures that have to be made here so as when we do emerge from this programme, not only can we seen to be a model for other countries to follow but that we can also use that experience and expertise to help others.
He says that Ireland has the “best demographics of any country in Europe for the next 25 years” and “a tax system that allows for flexibility and for people to invest here”.
Mayer also asks him about walking to and from work at government buildings from his home in Dublin on a daily basis, querying whether this leads to him being the subject of the ire of angry members of the public. He says:
Sometimes they have their arguments, if you talk to taximen or busmen or housewives or shoppers or people going to work or coming from work on the streets and Irish people always like to feel that they have access to those whom they elect and if they want to say something to a minister in government or to the head of government I think that’s very important. Their point of view is of interest to me.
He says that he has “no interest in looking for either credit or thanks” and says that in dealing with Ireland’s economic challenges he does not want a return to the boom years:
The Celtic Tiger years were false years. They were built on a veneer of endless wealth without hard work. What I want to do is go back to the time before that, to the late 1990s when Ireland was creating a thousand jobs a week, when we were recognised in competitiveness as being in the top three in the world, when we were exporting huge quantities of quality brand products and that’s where we need to get back to.